Team Building in the Workplace

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Utilizing Temperament Differences for Increased Success

I sometimes have the privilege to go into a business and serve as a consultant to assist in team building and conflict resolution. Many studies (and common sense) tell us that the most profitable and successful businesses are those where there is excellent collaboration between coworkers and between managers and employees. An extremely useful tool to assist in team building is understanding temperaments. The realization that there are 4 different temperaments has been known for thousands of years! In the last 75 years, our understanding of temperaments has been extensively studied and implemented in working with businesses as well as relationships.

Much conflict in the workplace has to do with not understanding differences in temperament and the gifts that a person with a particular temperament contributes to the organization. Depending on what temperament one is, the person has different core needs, values, talents and behavioral tendencies. One such temperament is called the “Theorist.” The core need of the Theorist is to have a sense of understanding and competence, and when he experiences that, he feels “alive and well.” Even though those of other temperaments also may share in wanting knowledge and competence, they are not necessarily core needs.

The Catalyst has his core needs met when he feels a sense of meaning and significance as well as living a life that is true to his unique identity. He feels most alive when he can have deep, meaningful, empathic relationships including at work. He craves self-actualization and is usually a great facilitator.

The Stabilizer has his core needs met when he feels a sense of belonging or membership. He has a strong urge to be responsibility and do his “duty.” Stabilizers are rule followers and enforcers and always can be counted on to get things done. The Stabilizers are the presidents of the PTA, the stabilizing forces in the workplace and the spouses that make sure that the family is prepared and packed for a vacation or a natural disaster!

The Improviser has his core needs met when he experiences the freedom to act NOW and the ability to make an impact. He often likes immediate adventure, is a good crisis manager and will adapt well to the situation to get the results needed. Improvisers could make excellent salespeople as well as firefighters and performers. Whereas the Theorists are great strategists, the Improvisers are great tacticians.

It would be wise for business owners to embrace the natural gifts of the Theorist to strategize and plan for the future. Likewise, Catalysts can often lift morale, tune in to the unspoken problems in the organization and help resolve conflict. The Stabilizers need to be appreciated for taking care of the logistics as well as their loyalty and dedication. The Improvisers can manage the crises that come up and be adaptable result getters.

Please understand that nobody is boxed into a certain label or Temperament. There are just innate needs and natural tendencies that we all have. It is very possible for anyone to act different than their temperament would suggest and we do. As a matter of fact, if we only acted within out temperament, our lives would suffer. The two important things to keep in mind are:

Our energy elevates when we act within our preference and get our core needs met.

There is a higher energy cost to act outside out preferred temperament.

After several decades of studying, teaching and utilizing this concept of temperaments, (both in businesses and in marriages), I still get amazed how accurate and useful this model is. There is no question in my mind that utilizing this tool is a powerful way to improve teamwork and attract success into the workplace.

I would be happy to talk to anyone who is interested in learning more about this for themselves, their workplace and/or their intimate relationship.

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